Geeks of Color, Collider and Bloody Disgusting interviewed the directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet and also the movie producers Chad Villella and William Sherak. We’ve selected and compiled their best quotes:

On the script

Tyler Gillet:When we found out Jamie (Vanderbilt), a friend of ours was writing the script, we kind of lost our minds a little bit. So that was before we even knew we’re involved. But then one of the things that’s so important to any SCREAM is how it speaks about the current state of horror and how it evolves horror, and hopefully, moves it along and and that is just baked into the script that Jamie and Guy wrote, and it’s something that we’re bringing to it as filmmakers. But the bones of that are so baked into the script that I would say it’s one of, along with a couple other things, that when we first read it just made us fall in love with what they had written.

Chad Villella:I think what SCREAM does it raise that pendulum back and forth between the modern horror and then we go back to the classics. But like SCREAM is aware of all, you know? And it always has been. And I think it’s taking that comprehensive knowledge and pushing it further and making that accessible for a modern audience is what the fun of a SCREAM movie is.

On the tone and references

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:We’ve talked about, you know, Jordan Peele’s body of work a lot, because what he’s doing is the closest thing to something that we hope to do, and that we love in terms of tonally where it’s fun, and it’s about something and it’s exciting. And it’s not just one thing, you know? Then also we talked about the visual style of US a lot when we were talking about this just because it captured something very honest and organic, while also feeling like a big fun movie, and to be able to do those two things simultaneously and have a kind of an indie vibe. That’s also a big fun popcorn movie is that’s what to us, you know, Wes Craven kind of mastered with Nightmare on Elm Street and SCREAM where, where he’s able to walk that line. And that’s the newest thing in that lineage for us.

The movie has a lot to do with the current state of horror, but one of the things we talked about is that, unlike when the original started and horror was sort of on a downward path and it wasn’t that popular anymore, people outside of the mainstream were still into it, but the mainstream had given up on horror. That’s not where we’re at now obviously. Horror is as big as anything right now, and so it’s fun to go at it from that angle, but also at the same time for us, scary is scary, and it always will be. If something’s truly scary, it’s just going to be f*cking scary and that’s our aim. And that’s something we learned from Wes Craven going all the way back to Last House on the Left. Nightmare on Elm Street was probably one of the first horror movies any of us saw that truly scared us in a major, major way seeing that as a kid. When it comes to that kind of thing, I think that’s one of our main goals is just to make sure that the scary is scary and not try to be gentle about it.

On today’s youth, American life and representation

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:It’s a really hard question to answer without talking about what it’s about, but we can safely say that we’re very aware of all of that and the script is extremely aware of it, and it is reflected in this movie in the ways that it has been in the previous ones. But it’s hard to talk about that in any specifics without spoilers.

William Sherak:Look, I think for us it was, let’s get a cast that’s representative of a community, and diversity is and should be at the forefront of what communities look like. And we were super excited to be able to create a new cast that was representative of what a town really should look like and what a small town can look like. And Paramount and Spyglass gave us the ability to go do that, and everybody stood behind that. And I think we put together just an awesome, talented, diverse group of individuals that really work well together. When you see them together, it looks like it could be Anytown USA and that was super important for all of us. And I think that the guys really achieved that in terms of a diverse cast and a cast that is unbelievably talented, and are friends together in the movie and in real life, and that’s the approach that I think we took.

Going back to the roots

William Sherak:And from where we are today, halfway through our shoot, we have the legacy cast and the new cast to get us there. And they’re all crushing it. Radio Silence is crushing it. And, you know, it’s one of those things where that was the goal from the beginning – to make sure we could deliver for the fan base, and create something with enough of a nod to be unbelievably respectful in what we grew up on, and deliver what the first one delivered for a new audience. And I think that’s, you know, that’s our goal. And that’s the front of 35,000 foot level, that’s what we talk about every day, which is making sure we deliver for both, because it is a long time from the first one. And there is a whole new group of kids that that love horror, and they’re how they grew up no different than we grew up on the movies that created the first SCREAM, this group grew on the grew up on the movies that will create this SCREAM.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:All the actors who came back gave us input on the story level and the character level, in terms of where they saw their character at this time, and how that fits into the story that Guy and Jamie wrote. It all worked in really nicely and gave us a level of detail that I don’t think we would’ve had without them giving us that input.

Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven

William Sherak:The first thing we did when [Spyglass Media Group Co-Chair and CEO] Gary Barber relaunched the franchise was to go out to Kevin and bring him into the process. It’s not about a once over. His approval means everything. Let’s be clear; he’s the reason we’re all here. Making sure that we were doing it right for Wes and the fans, he’s been that True North that made sure we stayed on course. There was no heavy lifting done after the script we’d developed. When he was pitched the original idea, he gave us his thoughts on the pitch, and that’s what we then went and did. So, everyone had been pointing in that direction from the beginning. When Radio Silence read the script, they agreed with that version of the movie.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:We sat down with him before we were originally supposed to go into production, and we just spent an afternoon with him. He gave us many really thoughtful pointers, specifically on directing from Wes that he had picked up along the way. Just things to keep in mind while you’re making it so that it truly lives within the Scream world and has that DNA, and isn’t just a copycat or facsimile. It’s something that we really brought with us throughout this process.

Tyler Gillet:Everything that we know and understand about this tone, we learned from Kevin [Williamson] and Wes [Craven]. That’s not hyperbole in any way, shape, or form. They taught us everything we know and everything we love about that tonal tightrope of making something that’s scary and funny and emotional and meaningful. And thematically rich. They make it seem effortless.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:There would be no Ready or Not without SCREAM.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:One of the things that Wes did that we have implemented and learned from well is that he made a real point of making sure within each scene, there was always a misdirect. There was always a red herring, even if it was subtle or subconscious almost. You think about the shoes that the Sheriff is wearing in the first movie. Or the looks Henry Winkler’s character gave in the Principal’s office. All of those little moments just to keep the audience on their toes is something we’re trying to do in this one, and make it a true whodunnit.

On how to keep the ending out of the internet

William Sherak:One of the things that we got when we spoke to Kevin in the beginning of this process was that one of the things they did early on in the Scream franchise was there were multiple drafts out there of who did what and what was really going on, and we adopted a similar approach. So there are a bunch of different drafts out there of what happens in the movie and our goal is to try and keep even our cast guessing who’s done it and who’s responsible and I think we’ve accomplished it, so we’re gonna continue down that path.

Samara Weaving and a possible sequel

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:We would love to make every movie ever with Samara. She’s just ridiculously talented. The schedules just didn’t work out because she’s in Australia now doing all these amazing things, so it’s hard to get her. But we definitely talked about it. Maybe down the road? Maybe she’ll be in one of the future Scream movies.

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